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What are the Northern Lights?

Everything you need for your ultimate Northern Lights experience in the Arctic

What are the Northern Lights?


noun / a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, especially near the northern or southern magnetic pole. The effect is caused by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with atoms in the upper atmosphere. In northern and southern regions it is respectively called aurora borealis or Northern Lights and aurora australis or Southern Lights (oxford dictionary)

What are the Northern Lights? The Northern lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a night-time phenomenon that appears in the skies in a ring around the north and south poles.

The Northern lights are streams of light with a wavelength of between 557.7 (green) and 700nm (purple), visible from an oval 3-6° wide, normally approximately 10-20° away from the magnetic poles known as the aurora oval.

So what exactly does this mean? It essentially means that the dancing green lady in the sky are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere that only can be seen in the Northern and Southern poles of the Planet Earth (so cool). The Aurora generally extend from 80 kilometers (50 miles) to as high as 640 kilometers (400 miles) above the earth’s surface.

Why are they different colors? Sometimes the aurora can be different shades of green, blue, pink and red. This is caused by the different gas particles that are colliding together in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Learn More About The Northern Lights 

We have search the world and found Tromsø to be the best place to see the Northern Lights. Below is a selection of the best Northern Lights tours in the Arctic